Jenna Butler was born in Norwich, England in 1980, but has spent most of her life on the prairies of Western Canada. The varied landscapes of the prairies and mountains — their intense harshness and incredible richness — feature prominently in her poetry, fiction, and essays. Her work has garnered a number of awards, including a Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Emerging Artist Award, the Canadian Authors Association Exporting Alberta Award, and the James Patrick Folinsbee Prize, and has been featured by the CBC. Abroad, Butler’s poetry has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and the International Salt Prizes (UK), among others. Her writing has appeared in literary journals, magazines, and anthologies around the world, and she is the author of ten short collections of poetry and fiction. Her trade titles are Aphelion (NeWest Press, 2010), Wells (University of Alberta Press, 2012), Seldom Seen Road (NeWest Press, 2013), and the collection of essays A Profession of Hope: Farming on the Edge of the Grizzly Trail (Wolsak and Wynn, 2015). See the Books section for details.
Butler is a member of the League of Canadian Poets, the Canadian Authors Association, and the Writers Union of Canada. A former National Council member, she has participated in many League events over the years, including readings, Random Acts of Poetry, and mentorship programs. She was the League’s first Online Poet in Residence and the Canadian Authors Association Alberta Branch 2013/14 Writer in Residence, and has sat on literary juries across North America.
With deep roots in the Alberta literary community, Butler is a founding board member and former Poetry in the Schools coordinator for the Edmonton Poetry Festival, sitting on the board for three terms. She continues to volunteer on the editorial committee for Edmonton’s Olive Reading Series, where she also serves as Treasurer, and is the founding editor of Rubicon Press. In 2011, she joined the Board of Directors of NeWest Press and now serves on its executive. She is an editor for NeWest Press’s new poetry imprint.
Butler holds Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education degrees (distinction) from the University of Alberta, in addition to a Master’s degree in Creative Writing: Poetry (distinction) and a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing (contemporary Western Canadian poetics) from Europe’s most renowned creative writing school, the University of East Anglia.
Jenna Butler makes her home in Red Deer, Alberta, where she teaches Creative Writing and Ecocriticism at Red Deer College. She divides her time between Canada and England in order to remain active in both literary communities, to teach, and to explore mutual concerns regarding art, the environment, and writing pedagogy.
Jenna enjoys working with writers and instructors of all levels, and is available for speaking and teaching engagements in Canada and abroad, in addition to manuscript consultations. Please visit the Speaking & Workshops section of the site.